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16 Sep: Classics Research Seminar, Glittering Palace & Incestuous Home in Pseudo-Seneca’s Octavia

When and Where: From 3.10pm on Friday in Napier LG 9. All are welcome.

Dr Jacqueline Clarke (Classics)

Abstract: The word for home, domus, punctuates the Octavia. Sometimes it is juxtaposed with the word for palace, aula, which highlights a tension between traditional Roman concepts of home and family and Nero’s more grandiose aspirations. That terms for glittering and shining are also linked with both domus and aula in this work suggest that the author is playing upon the notion of the domus aurea, Nero’s infamous Golden House (which is also briefly referenced in the text). Through an exploration of these terms and an analysis of the ways in which the words for home and palace become associated with certain female figures in the play such as Agrippina, Nero’s mother and Poppea, his pregnant mistress, this paper will show how home takes on the connotations of the female womb and how the boundaries between public and private space are violated, mirroring the incestuous nature of the relationships within Nero’s household.

After each seminar, tea will be available in the Napier Level 8 staff room.

2016 Classics Research Seminars

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